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I just found this site. It is a great resource.  So here it goes, my first post.  I'm starting a great new job.  I am the manager of a department with 4 direct reports.  One of the direct reports is a new hire, the other 3 are veterans with a variety of performance problems.

So here is the catch, I just found out that the previous Manager "Step-Down", and will not report to me.  She has been with the company well over seven years.  She will also bring my direct report count up to five.  All of the members of the team share the same job title.

My concern are:

1.How should I handle this employee, who I believe only stepped down to avoid termination?

2. Since this team member used to direct the team, what potential roadblocks, or situations should I look out for?

3. This employee knows the In's and out's of my job role better than me? How can I use this to my advantage?

4. How should I treat this team member vs. the others?

Any other suggestion or tips would be greatly appreciated.

 

humble_me's picture

I assume when you said "and will not report to me" was supposed to say "and will report to me" based of your other comments.

.I have had this happen to me a couple of time, but both times has been internal job changes so I was familiar with the groups I was taking over.  The first time the supervisor "stepped-down" because he wasn't performing well.  Let me see if I can provide some insight based on my experience to your questions.

1.How should I handle this employee, who I believe only stepped down to avoid termination?

Treat her with respect.  I would establish a relationship with her first (use one on ones) and then at some point I would address the elephant in the room.  If you bring up the reason for her "stepping-down" too early, it could be disastrous if she doesn't have respect for you.  At that time you could just ask her open ended questions.  She may just want to get it off her chest. 

2. Since this team member used to direct the team, what potential roadblocks, or situations should I look out for?

I would pay attention to how the other employees treat her making sure they treat her with respect.  They may harbor bad feelings about her and you should nip that in the bud quickly with feedback.

3. This employee knows the In's and out's of my job role better than me? How can I use this to my advantage?

My opinion would be to steer away from asking for advice from her on managing the group. 

4. How should I treat this team member vs. the others?

I would suggest treating her the same as the other employees.  If you try to treat her like she's different, then she may start acting like she's still the boss or the other employees will sense it.

Above all, remember you're the boss now.  Good luck!

jhack's picture

You "just found this site."  Welcome!  

You should make sure you have the basics in place:  one on ones, coaching and feedback.  The basics can be found here:   

http://www.manager-tools.com/manager-tools-basics

and they work for almost every situation, including when you have folks working for you who previously were your peers or boss.  The most important thing to remember is that good management takes time.  Don't rush it, and you'll become solid.  

Let us know how it goes! 

John Hack

raulcasta's picture

I'm starting a new job in a couple of weeks and may be facing a similar situation as Blacktie.

The job I'm filling has beent vacant for nearly a year now and one of my soon-to-become direct reports has been "running the show" ad interim.  I believe he's a good guy from reference provided from previous colleagues of his (I've been doing my networking).

I plan to follow the manager-tools basics.  Even though I have been using the Trinity for quite some time at my current job with good results, I know this new fitting-in and deployment is going to be an interesting new challenge that will require hard work and perseverance.

I surely will be grateful to read any comments/advice on this subject!

Raúl